Welcome to our blog! We are very excited to bring to you news and insights into work (and fun) at the Machine Translation (MT) Group within Microsoft Research. We have great mix of researchers, developers, testers, program managers, linguists, designers and product managers working on MT here, and we are pleased to launch this blog as a way to connect with customers, partners and other friends of MT. We hope this will provide greater insight into the work we do and who we are, and we are very excited to be talking to you.
Machine Translation (MT), to those that don’t know it, is exactly as it sounds: using a “machine” (in most cases computer software) to translate text from one human language to another. There have been many different approaches developed in this area and results have been improving over time. You will hear from members of the team that have been working on this technology and hear about how the research breakthroughs are coming to a desktop near you. We will be introducing you to the team building the new Microsoft Translator and you will get some background on the technology used for the site.
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Once again, thank you for visiting the blog! Cheers!
An easy way to subscribe to the Translator API is through the Windows Azure Marketplace , as evidenced by the thousands of developers subscribing to the service through the marketplace. The team just added an often asked for feature - Auto-refill. This feature addresses a key request from many Translator API customers who wanted to (a) more tightly control their monthly pre-committed subscription level and (b) not run out of volume in case the usage exceeds the forecast level.
Here is what the marketplace team has to say about the new feature:
The Auto-refill option can be enabled on any paid subscription, giving more options to subscribers of the Microsoft Translator API ensure effective use of their subscription volumes. Auto-refill provides the ability to ensure that you, or anyone using your subscription, do not reach your usage limit before the end of your subscription period, and thus avoid the resultant loss of service. Auto-refill does this by cancelling your current Translator subscription and creating a new subscription before you reach your usage limit. All this happens seamlessly, without interrupting the service.
How Does it Work?
You subscription gives you a certain allotment of transactions, users, characters or other discrete limits (characters - for translator). Once you enable Auto-refill on a particular subscription, Windows Azure Marketplace monitors your character balance for the current subscription period. If your balance reaches 10% or less of your subscription limit, and you have not used up your maximum number of Auto-refills in the past 30 days (or have chosen unlimited Auto-refills), Windows Azure Marketplace re-subscribes you to, and charges you the then-effective subscription rate for, a new subscription, thereby giving you new subscription period and new character balance. In addition, any characters remaining immediately before Auto-refill occurred are carried over to your new subscription so that you don’t lose anything you already paid for.
Who Can Benefit From Auto-refill?
Scenario 1 - Manage Anticipated Spikes in Volume
If you are running a promotional campaign for your application you might see higher than expected traffic during the promotion. If you don't know what your target reach may be and want to ensure no interruption in service, you could select the "Unlimited" refill option during the course of the promotion. This will ensure that any unanticipated spikes are supported. In the month following the promotion, you can then modify your subscription and auto-refill needs accordingly.
Scenario 2 - Manage Your Costs
The cyclical nature of projects may require higher or lower volumes in given months. Some months your usage may require only 4M characters and in others your usage may increase to 32M characters. With the auto-refill feature you can set your monthly volume to 4M with an auto-refill option of 8 refills.By leveraging the auto-refill feature, you are able to better manage your subscription to your lowest anticipated volumes / costs and then increase your volumes as needed. Allowing you to minimize time spent monitoring your usage and save costs over a larger subscription every month.
Step-by-Step to Enable Auto-Refill for Microsoft Translator
Step 1: Select “Enable Auto Refill”
Step 2: Enter the Number of refills, agree to the terms and conditions, and click “Submit”
Step 3: Return to summary where uou should now see your available refills and option to “Edit Auto Refill”
Click here to learn more about the Auto-refill feature and here to learn more about other release features for Windows Azure Marketplace.
Say ‘Hello World!’ in multiple languages with the new speech-to-speech feature for the Bing Translator app for Windows. The most recent update for the Translator app for Windows now delivers the same speech-to-speech functionality that Bing Translator app for Windows Phone 8 users already love.
Now users can leverage the power of speech-to-speech translations from any Windows device. Simply speak into your device by using the microphone feature to place orders or ask for directions, and hear the translated words in a native speaker's accent.
In addition to speech input, this new release of the Translator app now offers users the option to use the camera feature in both portrait and landscape mode. Simply point your camera, scan and translate printed language using your tablet or PC to create subtitles for everyday life.
Today, we are also releasing new updates to the Bing Translator app for Windows Phone 8 which include improvements to the speech functionality for better quality and responsiveness of translations, in addition a redesigned user interface for the existing and recently released offline language packs. By downloading offline language packs, you can maintain translation on the go when not connected to the internet and avoid expensive data roaming charges.
You can now download the free app for Windows from the Windows store here and for the Windows Phone from the Windows Phone store here. Existing users who have already downloaded the app, will be able to access the new updates without needing to download it again. Whether on your Windows Phone or any Windows device, the Translator app is the perfect travel companion to help overcome language barriers, even when there’s no internet connection. To learn more about Bing Translator apps, check out the Translator for Windows and the Translator for Windows Phone product pages.
These apps will become your window to the world, no matter where you are.
The Microsoft Translator API is a hosted API that allows you to add machine translation to your app. It fully supports Windows Store Apps, so if you want to add localization to these apps, doing so is as easy as subscribing to and using the API. We’ve built out step-by-step instructions and assets that demonstrates how to do this this, showing a C#/XAML based app, built for the Windows 8 Store, which uses the MVVM design pattern.
Getting Started Guides and Assets:
Build a Twitter App with Translations
Want to know what people are saying about the latest product release or global news event across the world in 40+ languages? The Twitter app allows you to search for tweets that match a search term, and when those tweets are in a non-English language, it will translate them for you directly over the top of the existing text. We’ve also made the full code for the application available for you to download. The links above with provide you with the walkthroughs and assets to get started.
View of Twitter App with Translations:
Close-up of one of the tweets, showing the translation:
The Microsoft Translator team is sponsoring MIX 09 this year and we will be showing off the new web page translation widget and the translator APIs. If you are attending MIX, come to our session!
All attendees go widget invite codes in the bags. At this session you will see how you can make use of them.
MIX09-B05M Exposing Web Content to a Global Audience Using Machine Translation. San Polo 3401 | Thursday March 19 |1:25 PM-1:45 PM
We will also be at the Live Search session.
MIX09-T33F Customized Live Search for Web and Client Applications. Delfino 4001| Thursday March 19 |1:00 PM-2:15 PM |
We will also be giving out the exclusive API invite codes at these sessions – so make sure to be there!
Keep an eye on this blog for further news and tidbits from MIX.
- Vikram Dendi Business Strategy & Front End Program Management Microsoft Translator